"TOKYO — First, a rat gnawed through exposed wiring, setting off a scramble to end yet another blackout of vital cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Then, hastily built pits for a flood of contaminated water sprang leaks themselves. Now, a new rush of radioactive water has breached a barrier built to stop it, allowing heavily contaminated water to spill daily into the Pacific."
"As the scope of the latest crisis became clearer on Wednesday, Japan’s popular prime minister, Shinzo Abe, ordered his government to intervene in the cleanup of the plant — taking a more direct role than any government since the triple meltdowns in 2011 qualified Fukushima as the world’s second worst nuclear disaster.
Mr. Abe, a staunch defender of the country’s nuclear program, appears to have calculated that he needed to intervene to rebuild public trust and salvage a pillar of his economic revival plan: the restarting of many idled nuclear plants. That trust has been eroded not only by the original catastrophe, but also by two and a half years of sometimes embarrassing missteps by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, and what many Japanese see as the company’s continuing attempts to mislead the public and cover up continuing troubles at the plant."